Temple’s law dean promoted to provost

Temple University early Tuesday early morning raised law school dean JoAnne A. Epps to provost, its number-two position, replacing Hai-Lung Dai, who was eliminated from the post recently.

The visit, subject to approval by the board of trustees, would be permanent – not interim, as universities often do so they can introduce a nationwide search.


Epps, 65, who has invested 31 years at the law school, the last eight as its dean, was appointed by President Neil D. Theobald. Her title will consist of senior vice president and chief academic policeman also, and she will manage academics across the university’s 17 schools and colleges and 12 administrative offices.

“JoAnne’s impressive record in teaching, student success, variety, and social justice, combined with her long-standing dedication to Temple and the city of Philadelphia, makes her ideally suited for this important leadership function,” Theobald stated in a statement.

Gregory N. Mandel, a law professor and associate dean of research, will step in as interim law school dean, Theobald stated.

Epps stated she had not sought the post and only recently discovered that Theobald wanted her to take it.

“I believe the university remains in a terrific location, and if I can assist contribute to its research study and academic and teaching excellence, I’m happy to provide my efforts,” said Epps, a Yale Law School grad who spent nine years as a trial lawyer before joining Temple.

30aShe acknowledged that she was walking into a questionable circumstance. Dai, a chemist who continues to be a tenured faculty member has actually employed a lawyer, and some professors have actually decried his ouster, launching a petition to urge the board to scrutinize Theobald’s decision.

The university released a brief statement recently saying Dai was being launched of his management duties, but offered no reason. The same day of the statement the university acknowledged it had a $22 million space in its financial-aid budget plan for benefit scholarships and had taken actions to stabilize the spending plan. Theobald was not pleased with the over expenditure, while Dai protected it, sources said, and the concern caused a rift between Theobald and his second-in-command.

Epps stated she comprehends the faculty have concerns however said workers problems are personal.

“What I truly hope is that I will have the ability to ensure the professors and students and other members of the community that the things about Temple’s momentum that we’re all so excited about, I will lend every fiber of my being to continue,” she stated.

Because the decision was so unexpected, she said she had made no plans yet for changes in the office, nor has Theobald offered her a program.

30a“I’m wishing to continue to build on Temple’s strong research commitment and continue to attract world-class professors,” she stated.

Patrick O’Connor, chair of the board of trustees as well as a lawyer, called Epps “a design jurist.”

“She is a thoughtful listener, strong leader, and a knowledgeable consensus builder – all necessary qualities for the position of provost,” he stated in a statement.

Epps, a local of Cheltenham Township, got her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., in 1973. She was introduced to the school by a young Trinity College student who had actually checked out Cheltenham High School when she was a senior to recruit young minority students. He drove her to Trinity for a go to with the dean of admissions, and quickly she had an offer of tuition help.

Her daddy was a machinist and later an installment-loan collector, and her mom a secretary at Temple, who retired in the 1980’s. Epps worked as a cashier in the Temple bookstore when she was 16 but didn’t imagine becoming an Owl – she didn’t wish to go to school where her mother worked.

“But that summer gave me a feeling of belonging to the city that I had not had,” said Epps, who kept in mind that she had actually mostly grown up in a white neighborhood.

After Yale, she became deputy city attorney in Los Angeles in 1976 and in 1980 returned to Philadelphia to sign up with the United States Attorney’s Office. She started at Temple law in 1985 and was called dean in 2008.

In 2014, she was appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter to chair a Police Oversight Board accountable for ensuring Philadelphia carries out suggestions of a Justice Department report crucial of policeman’s use of lethal force. She’s also on the city ethics commission and continues to act as a court-appointed monitor of city efforts to revamp stop-and-frisk strategies by police.

She presided over the law school at a difficult time when registrations nationally have declined. Throughout her leadership, the school moved into the leading 50 in U.S. News & World Report rankings, began a center for compliance and ethics, and created the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice, which has taken on the issue of language access in the courts for non-English speakers.

“I like what it represents,” she stated of the Sheller. “Our students are learning how they can be helpful.”

Growing up in the 1960’s, Epps never envisioned how her life would unfold.

Her profession aspirations were set: She said she wished to end up being a legal secretary, like the fictional character Della Street on her preferred show, Perry Mason.

She nearly left Trinity after her sophomore year, she stated, because she wasn’t getting the typing and shorthand abilities she needed to land that job.

30aThen a Trinity dean suggested she end up being a lawyer, something she had actually never ever considered.

“I had actually never ever met a lawyer, a male or a woman, white or black,” she said. “I reversed course. I said that’s not a bad concept.”

While she loved the nurturing environment of Trinity, she stated she discovered it hard to fit in at Yale, where she said the majority of the rest of her class were white students from privileged households.

“Very couple of were first-generation college or law school,” she stated. “Many were children or grandchildren of attorneys and judges. They showed up with an understanding of the setting.”

There was no effort to truly help her or the few others like her discover how to cope, she said.

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